Keeping Tree Roots Out Of Your Sewer Lines


sewer pipes clear, MassachusettsIn the beginning, it’s just an occasional clogged drain. From time to time, you hear a gurgling noise in the toilet. After a while, drains clog more frequently.

And then one day, in the middle of a shower, every drain in the house becomes stopped up. You then call a professional; it’s an emergency.

A camera probe through your home’s drain pipes reveals a mass of tree roots that has grown through and broken the sewer lines. It’s a mess, it’s going to be expensive to fix and it’s a serious health hazard.

Tree and shrub roots gravitate toward sewer lines because these lines contain the water, nutrients and oxygen that help plants thrive. To avoid costly repairs caused by the intrusion of tree roots, there are several precautionary measures that you can take:

Determine the location of sewer lines

Before doing any landscaping, make sure you know where the sewer laterals and cleanout pipe are located. Call 811, the national Before-You-Dig number, to find out the location of underground utilities on your land.

Choose your plants wisely

For plantings close to sewer lines, select small shrubs that are slow-growing and have a small root ball. Shrubs should be located far enough away so that the roots are not within reach of the sewer lines. Trees should be planted more than 10 feet away from the lines.

Use physical controls

Root barriers discourage roots from growing into sewer lines. Root barriers can be made from a variety of material and are buried in the ground near sewer lines. The barrier stops roots from growing past it. In addition, copper sulfate can be used to inhibit root growth around sewer lines.

Maintain the sewer lines

Have the sewer lateral cleaned regularly and make sure it is structurally sound. Regular cleaning will keep roots that are in the line from causing a blockage. Structural problems create gaps where roots can easily enter the lateral.

Contact Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for assistance in keeping your sewer line free of blockages and debris. We have the equipment and experience to keep your drains and sewer lines in top shape.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about home maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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